The value of mergers and acquisitions in the Middle East and North Africa reached $17.1 billion in the first three months of 2021, up 19 per cent on the same period last year, according to Refinitiv.
The acquisition of a 20 per cent stake in BP’s Block 61 gas field in Oman by Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Public Company for $2.59bn was the biggest single deal in the region during the period, the company's quarterly Mena Investment Banking Review showed.
Other prominent deals included Mubadala Investment Company's $1.65bn purchase of refinery and logistics assets of Brazil's Petrobras, the acquisition of Emaar Malls by its parent Emaar Properties for $991.6m and Sublime Commercial Investment's acquisition of a 12.21 per cent stake in Aldar Properties for $953m.
Other deals announced during the period include Abu Dhabi Pension Fund taking a stake in Abu Dhabi Energy Real Estate Company for $900m and Abu Dhabi's holding company ADQ purchasing Egypt's Amoun Pharmaceutical Company for $740m.
Egypt was the main recipient of M&A activity, with $3bn of investment, closely followed by Oman and Qatar, according to the data.
US investment bank JP Morgan was the most active adviser on mergers and acquisitions, involved in deals worth more than $5.1bn, or 30 per cent of the total.
Mena equity and equity-related issuance totalled $267.7m during the period, a 67 per cent year-on-year decline and the lowest for a first quarter since 2011. Only one initial public offering was recorded during the three-month period, with Riyadh-based Alkhorayef Water & Power Technology listing 30 per cent of its shares on the Tadawul Stock Exchange in March.
On the other hand, debt issuance reached $34.8bn, up 61 per cent on the same period in 2020 and the best start to a year since 1980, the report said. Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the most active issuer nations, with $12.3bn and $7.5bn in bond proceeds respectively. Saudi Arabia’s $4.9bn bond sale in January was the largest in the Mena region during the quarter.
Overall investment banking fees for the quarter reached an estimated $218m, up 5 per cent on last year and the highest in three years. HSBC was the highest earner, generating $22.7m in fees, or 10.4 per cent of the total. Standard Chartered, Citi, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse made up the top five.
Refinitiv is the former financial and risk business of Thomson Reuters. It is owned by the London Stock Exchange, following a $27bn acquisition which completed in January this year.